Last August, when my brother, Louis Schwarz of Lafayette, La., visited my family, he brought an old letter from a Fred Griffin of Corydon, Ind., addressed to our deceased brother Fred in Durham, NC, dated Feb. 2, 1968. Fred Griffin had enclosed information on our maternal grandfather's family and asked for information about our mother and her family. There was no indication of a reply by my brother Fred.
Even though the letter was 32 years old, I got Fred Griffin's number from the Internet and called him. Among many other things, he said he was now 85 years old and had been accumulating family information since he was 14. He offered to give me information from his family history and suggested I visit him in Corydon. I told him my wife, Betty, and I had already planned a week in Ocean City in September and that we would try to visit him later in the year.
But then Fred told me that when his Griffin family had a dry goods store on the square in Corydon, strangers would regularly come in and asked how to find their relative. Fred said many times he replied, "Yes, I knew your relative. He died just last week." After this little story, Fred suggested we visit him now.
Yes, Betty and I canceled our Ocean City vacation and drove to Corydon in September instead, where we had a wonderful visit with Fred Griffin, taped our conversations and received a copy of his family history of almost 400 pages. We identified many of our old photographs and gave Fred copies of several photographs he didn't have. Since then we've added over 3,000 names to our family tree and have about 1,000 more to go.
Silver Spring, Md.